As a child birthdays were always a bit rough for me.
If you were born anytime between June and August, then you can probably relate to my summer birthday struggles.
Friends were ALWAYS out of town, and I never got to experience bringing cupcakes for my classmates or having my locker decorated for my special day.
This may sound small now, but trust me—it felt huge growing up.
Thankfully as an adult (unless you’re a teacher) the summer birthday problem disappears.
Your friends are most likely still in town, and your coworkers often do something to celebrate even if it falls on the weekend.
Unless of course you quit your job and decide to travel the world for a year—then YOU get to be the one out of town for your birthday!
So for my 26th birthday, my husband and I decided to travel to Ireland.
I had it all planned out.
We were going to visit the Cliffs of Moher that morning and then drive to Killarney to spend the night “glamping” in the Ring of Kerry.
It was going to be great.
When booking our Airbnbs for this trip, I ended up picking three places that didn’t have wifi.
Unfortunately, one of those places was going to fall on the night of my birthday. But, my husband has a European SIM card on his phone, which I can turn into a hot spot; so I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal.
Until two days before my birthday, I suddenly had the thought: what if this is my last year to hear people tell me happy birthday.
And I won’t have the ability to hear them.
Because we’re out of the country.
With no wifi.
And it uses too much data on the SIM card to FaceTime.
Suddenly my past summer birthday woes felt like nothing compared to my newfound depressing realization.
Now, I know how silly this may sound. And I know how small missing out on hearing “happy birthday” is compared to the millions of other problems going on in the world.
But, I couldn’t help it.
I was so sad.
Every year, my parents and my brother call and sing “happy birthday” to me. It’s very cheesy (and when it comes to my brother’s singing—very off key), but I love it.
It’s something so simple but always brings the biggest smile to my face.
And this year I was going to miss it.
And potentially never get to hear it again.
As we sat on our bed playing cards that night, I admitted how I was feeling to my husband.
I jokingly told him that he was going to have to tell me “happy birthday” all day to make up for it since his voice would be the only one I’d hear this year.
The night before the 13th (although I think it was technically past midnight) I received the sweetest video from our friend and her family wishing me a happy birthday.
I didn’t think too much about it except for how thoughtful that was of them.
And then I woke up the next morning to SO MANY voice messages and videos on Facebook from all of my favorite people!
Little did I know (apparently you can block people from seeing specific posts), my husband had shared the following message on Facebook the night before:
“I have a favor to ask.
Today is Christina’s birthday! With all the traveling and medical issues, we’re not sure what our lives will look like (or sound like) this time next year.
Alongside the usual Facebook ‘Happy Birthday’ posts, it would mean so much if you could send her an audio message or short video saying “Happy Birthday!” through Facebook Messenger as well! Just some way she can hear your voice
It’s already her birthday here in Ireland so feel free to send a message whenever you can!
I’ve included instructions for audio messages if you need them. Voicemail is also great but she will not receive it until we’re back in the US next week.
Can’t wait to hear from you! Thank you so much!”
I cried as we sat there listening to so many wonderful wishes.
Instead of my fear of not getting to hear anyone else tell me “happy birthday” this year; I heard it from more people than I ever have before!
It was beyond special!
I know that more than likely, my hearing (though slightly declining) will still be stable next year. But nothing is guaranteed, and I lost my hearing in my left ear instantly.
It can happen again.
In fact, it did once. (Which you can read about here.)
When something like that happens to you, it’s hard to let it go.
It’s hard to break the belief that since it happened before, surely it’ll happen again.
And when it comes to things like this, you can’t control what will get to you…no matter how small or silly it may seem.
All you can do is accept its potential reality, acknowledge how those thoughts make you feel, and then let them go.
And then maybe you’ll get really lucky and admit your fears to someone as amazing as my husband, and they’ll turn your negative thoughts into the greatest surprise ever. 😉
To everyone who sent me a sweet voice message or video—thank you. I will forever cherish getting to hear your wonderful words and can’t even begin to describe how much joy those messages brought me.
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